Liquid Architecture. “This is one of the disadvantages of drink: It makes a man mistake words for thought.”– Samuel Johnson

One blustery afternoon, Christopher Robin, errr, I mean my Project Manager–ummm…no, no, not the Project Manager’s, Project Manager and not the assistant to the assistant Project Manager’s-manager, nor, the friend that was brought in to also, project manage the assistant to the Assistant Project Manager’ Manager, not any of these, but, MY MAIN, project manager, the top dog, the head-honcho, el Capitan.  I just wanted to be clear as to which Project
Manager we are talking about, since, there were a lot of them, all managing each other.  I am referring to the same one I described, previously, in my post on Orwell’s Animal Farm.  Yeah-that one!
Our story begins:  He (*names have been changed to protect the guilty*) asked myself and another colleague to attend a meeting/work session, with him, in the large conference room. I always knew he enjoyed the sound of his own voice, however, I never realized, just HOW MUCH.  He was flipping through a set of drawings, red-lining and often asking for comments, however, he would start speaking again before an answer could be fully delivered and sometimes before one could begin.  He wielded a fat-tipped red marker, the same type that is used by moving companies, not Architects. The point was not fine enough to delineate anything with clarity, thus, he transferred his thoughts to paper–via–large, swooping, red circles, then looked at us knowingly and in a voice that was a cross somewhere between Bug’s Bunny and  Violet from, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,  he would ask, “Got it?”  Before one could answer he would, once again, start to pontificate about his, “Years and years of Architectural Experience.”  I have never been a believer in organized religion and I certainly was not about to join his…..One hour passed.
He flipped though the set, all while sipping on a glass that contained a brown-ish liquid.  A liquid that was too dark to be iced-tea but not dark enough, to be soda.  The more he sipped the more loud he grew and the stories of his past grandeur seemed to grow in proportion with each subsequent sip.  He would occasionally leave the room and come back with glass–in hand– refilled with that mysterious liquid that seemed to give him: Looks, power, charisma, intelligence, sex appeal and Architectural ability that Frank Lloyd Wright would have wrestled him to the ground for. The more he sipped the more evident it became that he thought  my colleague and myself were both, hard-of-hearing, even though, he and I are in the 35-40 year age range while our esteemed manager is in his mid 50’s.  He would start circling an item for revision and that would propel him into another story of how he once wore a tight blue spandex suit, with a red cape and saved city after city from the horrors of bad Architecture.  As he sipped the stories and his volume grew….Two hours passed.


One of the owner’s of the firm walked in with a beaming smile and asked, “So.. *Clark* (Kent), how’s it going?”  *Clark* responded, “Really well,  just taking these young people under my wing and showing them what it means to produce a world-class building.”  I was thinking to myself, “Are we about to start a world-class building?  Or, perhaps, that brown-liquid has turned our project into a world-class building, the same way it has turned him into an intelligent, top notch Architect that women desire and men envy.  Hmmmm.”  The firm owner looked at us, then looked back at him beaming and held his gaze for what seemed like a mini-eternity.  It was the same type of look that someone who has just been touched by a faith-healer has.  He replied, “Well…good, good, glad to hear it…carry on.”….Three hours passed.

 I excused myself to use the restroom. When I returned my project manager looked at me and said, “J-sus F–ing C—-, you have been leaving the room a lot, do you have a bladder problem?”  I said, “No, I do not and this is my first time leaving the room in THREE HOURS, you have left multiple times, perhaps, you are confusing it with that.”  He then waived his hand dismissively at me and said, “Yeah, yeah, whatever…..WAIT!! Who moved my glass!?” (He had put it on the window ledge behind him when the owner of the firm walked in and had apparently forgotten about it).  I said, “It is right behind you.”  He seemed startled, then looked at the half empty glass, walked out and walked back in ten minutes later with the glass refreshed and loudly said, “I want to go over this plenum return wall with you (pointing to me), we need to make sure that our air velocity will be accommodated.”  He was parroting the mechanical engineer, whom we had met with, the day before.  Apparently he liked how the word, “velocity”, sounded and thought he would use it on me.  Anyone, like myself, who has had more than one College level Physics class would not be impressed by the word, “velocity”, no more than a baker would try to impress by using the word, “dough.”  I said, “The Mechanical engineer is sizing that and I will move the wall accordingly to accommodate the air-flow via his calculations, as we decided, yesterday.”  He replied, “Oh, right, errr, emmmm, well…yeah, let’s get busy now and move on… G-d d-m it!!”  Then he went into a 45 minute soliloquy on, “The importance of time management.”  He took a sip and said, “The best thing that you both could do to help yourself and your career  is to learn to properly manage your time…there is nothing more important in an Architect’s career than time management and if you ever want to one day manage, like I do, you will have to learn this….that reminds me of a guy I worked with in 1985 while I was in charge of……blah, blah”…. Four hours passed.
Finally into the fifth hour, as well as possibly his fifth litre, I said, “I really have to get going.”  He looked at his watch and said, “SHIT! It is almost dinner time, I have to get going too, well, we covered a lot of ground, hopefully you both will remember it all and make the corresponding corrections tomorrow.” A lot of ground? Really?  Then he said, “And remember what I said, “The key to good practice and good Architecture is time management.’”  I said, “I am thirsty, I need to get myself some of whatever it is that you have in that glass.”   He turned to me and in semi-slurred response said, “Sweetheart…you want to know what is in this glass? G-d dam–it I will tell you what is in this glass…. 26 years of Architectural experience, THAT is what is in this f-cking glass!!”  Classy.
If only, along with architectural experience, a drinking glass could hold: Good taste, class, manners and truthfulness. Now that is a drink I would have bought several rounds of–for him–on me! 😉
26 Years of Architectural Experience in this glass!

7 Responses to “Liquid Architecture. “This is one of the disadvantages of drink: It makes a man mistake words for thought.”– Samuel Johnson”

  1. The Javelineer Says:

    Damn. I have invested a lot of time in a mathematics PhD. I should have just ordered Gauss Gin on the Internet. Three centuries of mathematical practice in a clear, intoxicating liquor. Complex Analysis, stirred with an olive. Mmm. Mmm.

    Seriously, I’m loving your wry observations.

    Every educated person must eventually have an eye for irony. You have it.

    • Archiminister Says:

      Why thank you! 🙂

      It is a pity that some can only understand things in a literal context. I had someone ask me, “Is your blog about sarcasm IN Architecture?” Almost as if I was writing ABOUT sarcastic people. Duh. *shaking head*… No understanding of rhetoric or irony. I was kind of shocked by the question, actually.

      Gauss Gin…LMAO!!!! Funny as hell!! Carl himself would be proud!

      The next question I will get is: “Is Carl a friend of yours??” LMAO!!

  2. The real irony is you are talking about your experiences with him, who was talking about his experiences in his past. (lol) well written~

    • Archiminister Says:

      “The real irony is you are talking about your experiences with him, who was talking about his experiences in his past. (lol) well written~”

      Thanks. To my knowledge, I do not/have not had anyone sequestered in a room for 5 hours while I am recounting my experiences and I am not lecturing about time-management WHILE mismanaging billable time. He was lecturing on time management while mismanaging his own time and the time of the firm, at work, while drinking. If I was writing the article WHILE drinking on the job, during a meeting, then, yes–that really would be ironic.

  3. Archiminister Says:


    2. Literature. a. a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.
    b. (esp. in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., esp. as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.

  4. liz griffore Says:

    VERY well put..this man..has the little man syndrome..unsure of himself..unless he has a drink in his hand..also very sad!!! also very well written adn a pleasure to read..

    • Archiminister Says:

      Thanks, yes, he is a joke and a COMPLETE fraud on many, many levels. Professional credentials included.

      His presence at the aforementioned firm has become a full-on religion, meaning: He has done NOTHING to date and even though all evidence is to the contrary, some, still have “faith” that he will, “one day.” In the meantime, his little hand is in the company till, removing a generous portion payday-after-payday-after-payday, while, adding nothing except a bunch of hot air, a big mouth and hollow promises. His role was supposed to be one of business development. He is fraudulent on many, many levels. It turns out that he has skipped his way across country pulling a similar ruse, the only difference is the other firms caught on in under a year and sent both he and his sidekick packing. With his current firm, he has found a group of, “true believers” and he keeps passing the collection plate down the pews and aisles – every two weeks. Can I hear an, “Amen”!!! Can I get a “Hallelujah”!!! (Beating his little fist on the pulpit).

      “Such a loud sound from such an empty Vessel? For it is true what the say: The most empty vessel produces the loudest sounds.”– William Shakespeare

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